Saturday, January 31, 2009

I once had a whim and I had to obey it

Just every once in a while, if I've got money in my bank account and the whim takes me, I get into a mood where I buy things on impulse. I did that today, out in Nottingham - I was passing HMV and thought to myself 'I like browsing through the DVDs in HMV, but I never buy anything there. If I really want a particular DVD/video/whatever, I buy it on the internet or tape it off the telly, whichever is more convenient. And yet, if everybody did this, HMV would close down and I wouldn't be able to browse their DVDs any more. I'd better buy something. It'll be good for the economy.'

So I bought some of their cut-price DVDs - The Mitchell and Webb Look series one, Catterick, The Day Today, The Inbetweeners and the Doctor Who Lost In Time collection. The last of these wasn't reduced price, it was £15, but I've been meaning to get it for ages. And then in the Works bookshop I saw a book on playing the ukulele for absolute beginners. And then shortly afterwards I was passing the music shop and noticed that they had a cheap ukulele for sale. A little red one. So basically, I now own a ukulele. And I've spent the afternoon playing it. It's great - I can now play the ukulele part of 'Five Years Time' by Noah And The Whale (which is really, really, really easy to play, and I suspect their ukulele player also only had an afternoon of practice before they recorded it) and I'm starting to work on fingerpicking.

It's murder on the fingers, though - alternative titles I considered for this blog entry included "Played it till my fingers bled", "I've got blisters on my fingers!" and "Maybe get a blister on your thumb". The thumb-blister is the only one of those that has actually happened so far, but the fingers on my left hand are also rather sore.

The important question, though, is 'will calluses on my fingers impede my card-memorising technique?' Andi Bell learnt to play the guitar a few years ago and he's never won the world championship since. Perhaps it really isn't possible to be a Rock n Roll World Memory Champion!

Friday, January 30, 2009


I think I might have to spend the whole weekend writing to people. I've got to reply to a list of questions from the fact-checker who's proof-reading Josh's book (asking me about some things I've completely forgotten, naturally), reply to a few more interview questions from the BBC website guy who was here the other day (need to expound my 'filing cabinets' theory of memory in full detail), and reply to lots of emails from friends, fans and enemies (well, I haven't had any emails from enemies lately - perhaps they're not talking to me because they don't like me. Also, all my fans are my friends too, although possibly not all my friends are fans...)

Also, if anyone sees any business cards, bits of paper and such like fluttering around Beeston, could you give them back to me, please? They all fell out of my back pocket while I was cycling home from the supermarket tonight. I did manage to find all the credit/debit cards, luckily enough, but there's still some miscellaneous junk that's missing.

And also furthermore, I'm making a concerted effort to get every episode of Pocket Dragon Adventures on video, before Tiny Pop stops showing them and they disappear into obscurity again (actually, I think they're maybe going to release them all on DVD, but just in case they don't...) I've taken stock of all my old tapes and now I've got 70 of the 104 episodes. Maybe when I've got them all I'll somehow convert them to computerish files and 'torrent' them like some kind of genius hacker for the world to see. Long like Pocket Dragon Adventures!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The black sheep of the family

I made an alarming discovery today - it seems that Michael Heseltine's mother's maiden name was Eileen Pridmore! This could have all kinds of alarming consequences. What if he decides he's a long-lost cousin and invites himself round for tea? I have no idea what the likes of Michael Heseltine like to eat, and anyway my kettle's broken. And what if some journalist uses an unusual filing system in which he organises minor celebrities by their mothers' names, and then confuses the names Aileen and Eileen (which happens a lot), and asks Michael Heseltine for advice on how to remember where you put your car keys? My reputation would be ruined! Or what if the same journalist asks me for my comments on whatever Michael Heseltine achieved during his years in the halls of power (if anything)? I'd probably say something wrong and the government would collapse!

It's not like he's even got a hereditary peerage and thus gives me the fun of calculating how many people I'd have to assassinate to get myself a seat in the Lords.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's hard work being memorable

High up on my to-do list is organising the Cambridge Memory Championship. It gets harder every year to come up with 'historical events', especially since we need 120 of them now. It's just typical of those memory competitors, insisting on raising the standards without a thought for us poor slobs who have to create the memorisation papers. It's very difficult to think of a whole lot of vague event descriptions, ideally two to five words, along the lines of 'peace treaty signed'. There are only so many things that can possibly happen, and I'd hate to repeat myself and use a description that I've used in previous years.

And then there's names and faces. It's a real chore finding pictures of people and then putting names to them. If anything, that's even more difficult than remembering their names in a competition (which, as everyone knows, I'm rubbish at).

And I've got to email people and pester them to come along and compete. Because all this work of creating things for people to memorise is much less worthwhile if nobody turns up to the competition. I'm way behind on keeping in touch with competitors, and it really is easy to forget about a memory competition if you don't get reminded...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It'll be memorable

Well, three hours of filming for the BBC News website, and hopefully it'll come out as something fun to watch. I'll let you know when it's online!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I should probably confess...

... that despite having bought a new hoover on Saturday, I haven't actually technically taken it out of the box yet, let alone used it to suck up some of the filth around this place. And the BBC are coming tomorrow. I might just leave the place dirty, so as to give the little snippet of BBC-News-website-magazine-feature a gritty edge.

In other news, those Natural Confectionery Company sweets you see advertised on telly? They're not very nice. Stick to unnatural confectionery if you want good sweeties.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's the works Burns supper and I've tae address the haggis!

Hey, all you people out there in the blog-reading world, would you do me a favour? If I die (I'm not planning to die, but they tell me there's a chance of it happening at some point over the next hundred years), start having annual suppers on the anniversary of my birth, death, first World Boku Championship, whatever's most convenient. And turn it into some kind of national event somehow (create a wikipedia page that says Pridmore Night is the most important festival in Britain, that should do the trick). I think I'd make a good national icon.